As we approach our financial year end on 31 August, I have been looking back over the last 12 months – one word for how I feel when I was doing this “AMAZING”.
On a personal level I have had some fantastic experiences …..
· Winner of No 1 Magazine’s first ever Amazing Business Woman award
· Awarded a Lifetime Achievement by Business Woman Scotland, Hospitality & Tourism sector
· Finalist in the People Make Glasgow Inspiring City Awards in the Outstanding Contribution by a Business Leader
· Published my first book – The Willow Tea Rooms Recipe Book
But the Willow Tea Rooms is not about me, it’s about my business, my loyal visitors, my suppliers and my dedicated team, all coming together to make the Tea Rooms one of the places to visit in the city centre.
We have faced many challenges but as a team we have faced these together and come through stronger. This year in particular, like all those involved in the tourism and hospitality sector, we suffered during what was one of the longest period of snow the city has seen. Am sure everyone will remember the days we were all stuck in our houses, looking out at heaps of white stuff!
Next, comes a glorious summer – we all love the sun but it has given a few challenges this year – impacting on supplies.
Then of course we have the impact of Brexit – between rising prices and staff shortages – not the most enjoyable things to deal with but I leave that to our Sheila!
Enough doom & gloom….
We had a great day on 7 June, celebrating Mackintosh’s 150th birthday – our visitors enjoyed meeting our very own young Mr Mackintosh who was handing out some of our delicious kiss meringues!
2 months, later on 7 August, we celebrated our 21st birthday at the Willow Tea Rooms at 97 Buchanan Street, although in our usual fashion, we celebrated for 21 days! We had our birthday giveways on our Facebook page from 1 – 21 August and I was overwhelmed with the support we had for this, response was unbelievable and so much support from our facebook friends.
We brought in some new and exciting ranges both on our menu and in our gift shop. This included our latest addition to our tea family – our Mackintosh Blend – locally blended for us by our tea and coffee suppliers, Thomsons. Conal and the team at Thomsons are so supportive and we cannot thank them enough for their help.
At the same time as our new blend arrived, our new tea caddies arrived! So it was all hands on deck to get these filled and into our gift shops where our visitors are delighted that they can take home their favourite loose leaf tea to enjoy at home.
We added some new Scottish savoury dishes to our menu keeping with our ethos of traditional, tasty and homemade and these have been very popular. Lots of our overseas visitors this year have developed a taste for our Finnan Haddie fishcakes – made to our own Willow recipe.
So looking forward to our new year, lots of exciting things in the pipeline….taking part in the world’s biggest coffee morning for Macmillan Cancer Support, celebrating our 2nd birthday at the Willow at Watt Brothers and taking part again this year in the BBC Good Food Show at the SECC …..just a few things to keep us busy in September & October. Keep your eye on our social media channels for updates.